This Halloween was a little extra special for Baton Rouge. The long wait for Trader Joe’s is finally over. Being the curious mama that I am, I had to check it out to see if it lives up to the hype. It didn’t hurt that the store is only a short drive from our house (win!). So, I loaded up Etta Mae, and we braved the rain. I had never been to a Trader Joe’s, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. All I knew was that cookie butter is supposed to be the yummiest stuff on Earth.
We walked up to live music and a flurry of shoppers. The first thing I noticed after walking in was that the store was smaller than I expected. It was big enough to have a good selection of products, but not so big that I felt overwhelmed. It was clear that Trader Joe’s wants to be “your neighborhood grocery store” for Baton Rouge. Murals of LSU football and Baton Rouge landmarks were painted on all of the walls. Because many of the products are Trader Joe’s private label, I found the prices to be extremely competitive.
We made it past the flowers and the yummy looking produce and stopped for a sample in the back of the store. The Organic Jasmine Rice and Mandarin Orange Chicken did not disappoint! I tossed a bag of the chicken into my cart and headed to the dairy section where I was able to pick up a dozen large brown eggs for only $1.29. Not too shabby! I grabbed a bag of granola and some yogurt then headed to the household products section. I had heard that one of the Trader Joe’s brand laundry detergents was great for cloth diapers. I have been looking to try something new; but unfortunately, they didn’t have the particular type I needed. One of the employees took note of the name and promised to pass it on to the manager. Good customer service – check!
As we headed to the checkout, I browsed the wine selection. I’m not much of a wine enthusiast, but there seemed to be several affordable choices. I even saw quite a few bottles priced at $3.99. There were employees directing traffic, and the line moved quickly. One fun feature of the store is that they don’t use an intercom system. Instead, each lane has a bell that the cashier can ring to signal that he or she needs something. One bell means open another register, two bells means that there are questions that need to be answered, and three bells signals a manager to come over. I had considered not bringing any money with me for fear that I would spend a fortune, but I managed to make it out for less than $15!
Overall, my first Trader Joe’s experience was a good one. I will definitely be back sooner rather than later. In fact, I need to go back already. In all of the excitement, I forgot to get the cookie butter!
Have you been yet? Did it live up to the hype?